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The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an urgent call for action by all countries. - Pic source:

HUMANS are fascinated with exploration and discoveries.

Undoubtedly, it is axiomatic that novelty is the core role of science and technology.

The point I’m driving at is “sustainability” is in tandem with human instinct, intuition, and fitrah (natural constitution).

The questions we should always ask include: is this idea, belief, action, relationship, policy or proposition sustainable?

Can it withstand the test of time?

What does sustainability mean? The Oxford English Dictionary said “sustainability” is the use of natural products and energy in a way that does not harm the environment.

The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an urgent call for action by all countries.

It is tagged “the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and it was adopted by all member states in 2015.

SDGs are the blueprint to achieve justice and prosperity, as well as a sustainable future for everyone and the planet, now and into the future.

SDGs, which are interconnected, address challenges related to poverty, food security, health and environmental degradation.

We should not continue to upset nature’s fragile balance to attain infrastructural and economic development.

This is the reason that sustainability has become a talking point in government and corporate settings.

Science and technology unleash innovations.

The looming force of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) has turned global powers and major economic players into a hegemonic rivalry.

Though no serious nation will disregard the potentials of IR4.0, the issue of stability should also be an integral part therein.

In fact, people forget to realise the fact that the emergence of civilisations were not out of the blue, but rather due to the sustainability of the pre-IR (era).

A country’s economics should be balanced by ecological and socio-cultural imperatives, such as the five Ps — planet, people, prosperity, partnership, and peace.

The concept of “sustainability” should, thus, be approached top-down and bottom-up.

For instance, the consequences of actions with negative health impact, such as smoking and reckless driving, would not only affect them but also their families.

The public must be educated on the need to change their attitude towards the environment.

Thus efforts must be intensified to create awareness about sustainability.

Dr Idris Adewale Ahmed

Visiting research fellow, Centre for Natural Products Research and Drug Discovery, Universiti Malaya

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